Ovila Quad - Brandy Barrel Aged
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Ovila Quad - Brandy Barrel AgedOvila Quad - Brandy Barrel Aged
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Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
4.14 | pDev: 9.9%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Ovila Quad - Brandy Barrel AgedOvila Quad - Brandy Barrel Aged
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 93 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Dodgerrigo77
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Think I got this Feb 2013 @ City beer SF
Nice pop of cork, minimal gushing.
Nice dark fruit smell, looks like a quad by color or a rootbeer.
Taste is very subtle brandy easy dark fruit taste tones through the nose.
Medium carbonation, surprisingly. Good mouth feel
Really good, 12/28/2015, Im guessing this beer should be consumed very soon, great beer, think I paid $5 during SF beerweek

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Photo of Roguer
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours quite dark from the bottle to the glass, producing a modest dark tan head with good retention for a barrel aged brew.

Aroma is strong and boozy! Loads of dark fruit come through, with massive bready malts, caramel and brown sugar and toffee, and sweet alcohol throughout. All the traditional aromas of some of the best quads are present in abundance, and the barrel adds nuance vice dominance - in fact, other than perhaps a touch of oak dancing around the edges, it's tough to determine just how much the brandy translates to the aroma, beyond a tinge of alcohol.

Flavor immediately hits full strength: it's sweet and surprisingly sour, like overripe fruit - raisins, plums, and prunes come to mind. The brandy also appears, giving it an overall slight burn and a sweetness different than the malt and yeast. The back end features a more subdued, malty sweetness, hints of oak and even tobacco, and thick, bready malts that are hidden in the first half by the slight sourness.

When I say sour, this is still miles away from a true sour beer. That faint sourness - primarily from the barrel, I'm guessing - is still undeniably part of the experience.

Very full bodied, with a mild sting throughout from the alcohol. It's a beer you can definitely chew and savor.

This is a complex and deep beer. I think my only complaint is that for a barrel aged beer, the brandy represents exceptionally mild. That's also a compliment, in that it certainly doesn't overwhelm the base beer, but if the selling point is that this brew is brandy barrel aged, then I'd prefer more of a presence on the palate.

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Photo of Billolick
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1/2 growler pour from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

dark dark brown/amber, next to no head or lace left on the glass

Toffee, ripe and sweet fruits, chocolate, sherry all come to mind.

Tasty and heady, quality winter night capper kinda brew

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at the top Gainesville. 9 oz snifter. Listed simply as "Barrel Aged", so I am assuming brandy barreled. Pours dark ruby brown, nearly black in the center. Aroma is what seems to be big whiskey barrel and dark fruits, dry oak, more sweet fruits. Sweet dark fruit, black cherry, grape, vanilla, with some sherry-like notes. Medium heavy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Good stuff and happy to have found this. It's really a nice beer.

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Photo of thebigredone
3.51/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Burnhearts in Milwaukee.

Pours like any other quad, nice head, looks great.

From there on out, things were a touch down hill. Not sure if this was infected or not, but there were some light-moderate sour fruit notes. They were in competition with the darker, sweeter flavors you would expect in a quad.

Overall, not bad, even if slightly infected.

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Photo of impending
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25


375ml into a tulip. Pours a deep cola mahogany, café au lait colored decent head, ok lacing.

The aroma reached from the glass, the brandy initially. Early rotting dark fruits, semi sweet molasses, vanilla, oak while the brandy recedes over successive sniffs.

The taste is precisely what the scent indicated. Tons of dark fruits. Just a tad dry with a low level mineral bitter, the oak is most pronounced in the fading aftertaste. Medium full bodied creamy but not cloying mouthfeel. Warms well. The world needs more barrel aged quads.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.41/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

375ml bottle into Portsmouth snifter.

A: Pours a deep cranberry red with a short lived light brown head that faded into a faint collar leaving wisps of lace down the glass.
S: Buttery notes of barrel, sweet brandy scents, plum jam, raisins and other dark fruits. Light volatile alcohol.
T: Sweet brandy, sherry, prunes, black pepper and spice, light cocoa, light vanilla, cola, red wine, toffee, and a touch of leather in the finish. Boozy and sweet aftertaste with spice following.
M: My least favorite part of the beer. The carbonation is soda-like, and the body is too thin and light. Slick, tingly, watery and greasy mouthfeel.
O: Not as good as the original or the plum version (which I thought was awesome). Pretty good flavor but nothing special in my opinion.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark red-brown with a finger of frothy khaki-brown head. Fades normal.

S - Sweet dark caramel malts with raisins, dates, other dark fruits, Brandy, oak, vanilla, Belgian yeast, clove, pepper, spices, and some booze.

T - Sweet dark caramel malts, raisins, dates, other dark fruits, oak, Brandy, vanilla, Belgian yeast, clove, pepper, other spices, candi sugar, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Nicely balanced Quad with great mouthfeel. The barrel adds some nice complexity.

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4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

$6.00 for 10oz, served in a snifter
Sampled 21FEB13

[A] Arrives with a half finger high medium light tan head with a loose foamy texture. Retention is short leaving only a thin but complete ring around the glass. The body is dark garnet and hard to see through. However, some transparency can be see when the glass is tilted and, towards the end of the glass, the clarity is magnifying. No lacing to speak of but the body leaves a clear residue after each sip.

[S] The nose is incredible. At almost the exact same time, the sweet, ripe, dark fruits and the brandy barrel hit the nose. The balance is perfect or close to it. Sweet dates, earthy prunes and bruised plums add another layer of complexity. Apple character comes through as well but I suspect that the brandy is responsible for this and not the yeast.

[T] The brandy comes through first on the palate - clean and well integrated with distinctive apple notes. Again, dates, prunes, plums. A little blackberry and currants. Butterscotch and caramel come through after the alcohol fades. Light tannic dryness on the tail end.

[M] The mouthfeel is not bad, but it's not impressive either. The carbonation is a touch high and the body a bit thin. If both of these area were improved, the flavor would linger longer on the tongue, and there would be very little room for improvement for the beer as a whole.

[O] Amazing beer. And a top 3 American-made quad in my opinion. Interestingly, this beer was listed at 12.4% on the beer menu - not 10.2% as indicated on BA (even though the lower number seems more likely). A bigger, fuller mouthfeel would have easily pushed this beer to world class limits.

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Photo of KevSal
2.45/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Been looking forward to this for a little while!

375ml poured into a tulip glass

A- looks as decent. Dark ruby hue with a slight head that disappears quickly. The bottle art and design are fabulous though!

S- uhh it's alright, it's goin places. I know it's Brandy barrel aged but this one immediately smells like a red wine! Alch up front, some apple, and finally a bit of brandy. Don't really smell the base beer much at all

T- crushing, the smell was leading my to at least something tasty, however this taste like cola mixed with red wine, and it's not working. Barrel vinous characters heavy on the flavor. It's all barrel and brandy and alch, pretty messy...

M- mouthfeel is heavy mixed with bubble cola.

O- I had huge hopes for this one, and was trying pretty hard to score one. Did I get a bad bottle? Will the dubbel be similar, and that was actually aged in wine. Huge dissapointment from one of my favorite breweries. This is nowhere beer a 93, glad it was cheap and in a small bottle. Go with the quad with plum instead.
Cheech my dog finished the last bit, he seemed to enjoy it at least.

May be a bad bottle, will keep my eyes out for tappinga and give it a second chance.

Edit: funny enough I had the ba dubbel the next day at work, split with a friend thinking it would be the same. Nope ba dubbel was stellar! Get that instead

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Photo of popery
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a warm, dark brown. The head is small, beige and a bit rocky. The beer is transparent, and it can be seen through pretty easily. No apparent haze or cloudiness from lees (don't see any lees in the bottle, either). The aroma is sweet and rich. There's lots of doughy, fruity malt flavors mixing with well-integrated barrel notes and a Belgian yeast that brings earth, spice and more fruit. The notes that I'm getting from the aroma are raisins, molten brown sugar, dates, maple syrup, vanilla, peaches, molasses, caramel, port, brandy, light wood, grapes, and Belgian spice. That was a long list. I had a similar thought about the Ovila Quad with Plums, but it really smells like a fancy bread pudding. This is less fruity and more brandy, but that's the general flavor that I get. There's lots of doughy malt, rich sugars and refined barrel flavors. The taste kicks off with a good dose of malt sweetness. Warm brandy and dark stone fruit notes follow, and the beer dries out a bit as the spice and wood comes through. The finish is wood with some warming, integrated booze and a nice earthy flavor. Mouthfeel is smooth and just a touch sticky. The beer provides some gentle heat, as well. I wasn't the biggest fan of the first round of normal Ovila offerings, but the recent release of barrel-aged quad, dubbel and quad with plums have been quite impressive. While I'm a fan of this beer, the barrel-aged dubbel is still my favorite. That said, I'm not normally a big fan of barrel-aged quads, and this one definitely won me over. So, kudos to Sierra Nevada. Always great to see them flex their muscles a bit and put out some fanciness.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Off-white head, moderate retention on a dark ruby body. Clear lacing, touch of suds. Aroma includes vanilla, raisins, prunes, dates, figs, caramel, butterscotch, molasses. No alcohol at all on tasting, silky mouthfeel, very smooth. Taste includes all of the above flavors. It's character and depths are pretty remarkable with flavors bouncing all over the tongue and mouth. No other way to say it...pure deliciousness.

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Photo of denver10
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice deep maroon with a white head. A bi aroma of the brandy and its barrel, apple, cherry, pomegranate, and some caramel. Flavor started off with a hit of some brandy, the sweet fruit followed, and it closed out with a nice caramel and vanilla finish. A medium bodied to fuller and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, I really dug this beer. I generally am not too into Sierra Nevada's offerings but I was a huge fan of this one. If I didn't have to drive home, I would have definitely ordered another glass.

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Photo of Brew33
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A buddy of mine grabbed a growler of this for me at a local Barrel Aged beer tasting, many thanks.

It pours a clear brown with ruby edges, very little carbonation but the growler opened with a distinct hiss.

The aroma is huge. Brandy is the first thing you notice. Huge notes of brown sugar, alcohol, raisins, yeast, figs, and oak. The flavor is sweet initially with a charge of brandy. Then a big rush of dark fruits and dark belgian candi sugar. Smooth, sweet, alcohol is well hidden. Flavors are integrated perfectly. It's never too sweet and mouthfeel is never too heavy. Insanely drinkable for the abv and style. Medium body with proper carbonation.

Overall, a delicious beer. The whole is greater than the sum of it's part. A beautifully balanced, big beer.

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Photo of yamar68
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dirty, burnt mahogany capped with a centimeter of pale khaki head that leaves lace in a very big way. Any legging is buried by curtains of dense lace.

Dark sweet fruits - plum, fig... sour leather, some sweet and sour vinous presence, loads of rotten oak, merlot...

Brandy is right in the forefront. Acidic fruit character isn't quite as prominent as the nose would suggest. Some sweet yeast mellows out an otherwise rather one-dimensional flavor profile. Sour grapes, smooth caramel.

Typically I love any beer from a brandy barrel but I'm skeptical as to whether or not a quad like this belongs in one. Unique and certainly enjoyable... probably not a repeat purchase though.

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Photo of boisebeerfan
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served on draught at Bittercreek Ale House in Boise.

Aroma: vanilla and toffee with a hint of hot alcohol. Banana esters detected, but they were subtle and complimentary. I don't usually enjoy belgian style yeast byproducts.

Color: Reminded me of a dark cherry wood, clear but tinted. I would have wanted it to be slightly brighter.

Head was moderate, lightly tinted as well. Lasted a long time, much longer than the other 2 beers I sampled, but not as long as a nitro beer.

Flavor: Hints of vanilla in the lightly sweet/maltiness, accompanied by ethanol, which is to be expected at 10.1%. Strong flavor of butterscotch throughout. Belgian esters present, but not overpowering unlike many banana/clovey beers. Highly complex interaction from the brandy barrel aging, which solidified it as a beer-like equivalent of a tawny port.

Mouthfeel: surprisingly not syrupy. It flowed more like a port, and was quite good and nicely carbonated.

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Photo of flexabull
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the brewery. The label says 10.1% ABV not 10.4%.

Pours a dark garnet red color with a thin white head.

Aromas are very interesting, nuts, cherries, chocolate, and caramel. Smells great.

Taste starts out with dark fruit flavors, I notice mostly dates, also notes of vanilla, stewed cherries, nuts, and light booze. Finish is slightly sweet, with some alcohol heat, caramel, and light cocoa.

Mouthfeel is smooth, lighter body, but not thin.

Overall, this is a complex, flavorful and interesting beer. The barrel really changed up the Quad in a good way. Excellent.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Prime 16, served in a B. United goblet.

A: Clear, lustrous deep ruby body with a half-inch head of fine tan froth. Mediocre retention and lacing, but the color is breathtaking.

S: Smooth, spirituous brandy is prominent, along with some caramel, vanilla, oak, and dark fruit – raisins and dates. Excellent.

T: Follows the nose quite closely – barrel up front, followed by rich fruit and a caramel-tinged finish. Not too sweet, though. Long, oaky, brandy-soaked aftertaste. Balanced, complex, delicious.

M: Lively, frothy medium body. A little too explosive.

O: This was great. The beer and barrel melded beautifully, and it was incredibly smooth for its strength. Really glad I got to try it.


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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml cork and caged bottle poured into a snifter.
10.1% ABV, no date.

A - Slivers of ruby color shine through the dark but clear brew that pours with a fleeting tan head that leaves archways of lace on glass in random patterns.

S - Strong Brandy and warm solvent alcohol provide a sharp bite to the otherwise deep and smooth aroma. Brown sugar coated plums and ruby port advance followed by burnt caramel and undertones of mocha. Oak is but an afterthought as this complex beer directs attention towards sweet malt and dark fruit yeast esters.

T - A little more quad-like in flavor, this beer refrains from being quite as assertive as the aroma and is decidedly more nuanced than in-your-face. Chocolate notes blend in exceptionally well from a hint of roasted malt while kettle caramelization offers some dark sweetness. Dribbles of molasses and brown sugar surface around deep, dark fruit reminiscent of plum, raisin, and dark cherries before the beer finishes out with a soothing warm alcohol bite.

M - This Brandy barrel-aged beer continues to surprise, though the straying it does from the aroma here doesn't quite do the beer justice. It's thinner mouthfeel is not reflected by the beer's big aroma and sweetness and with the lower carbonation level, it feels slightly flat. Brown sugar and caramel prolong their presence with a drying alcohol finish and slow gradually increasing warmth.

O - Brandy barrel-aging adds even more complexity and depth to an already deep beer for a rich and exciting take on a voluptuous Belgian style. The beer's thinner body keeps it from utter greatness but regardless, sweet, smooth malt, lingering fruits, and alcohol complexity make this special Ovila Quad release is one to keep an eye out for!

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Photo of oline73
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this one on tap at Max's during Baltimore beer week. The beer was served in a tasting glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark mahogany color with a ring of off white head around the pour. The head goes away before the beer is done.

Smell: This one smells incredibly sweet. I'm getting tons of butterscotch and caramel. There is some dark fruit here too. Smells like candy.

Taste: This tastes just like a liquid Werther's Original candy. I'm getting loads of carmel, vanilla, brown sugar, and butterscotch. The brandy has done wonderful things to this beer. The finish is sweet, smooth, and warm. This is a perfect dessert beer.

Mouthfeel: The body is syrupy with just a few tingles of carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is an awesome dessert beer. I had to go back and get another taste the next time I was in Max's. Just amazing!

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Photo of John_M
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at max's for their rare and obscure beer festival during BBW.

The beer pours a dark brown color with light head retention and light lacing. The nose, however, is amazing in this beer, as there's a huge brandy presence, which intermingles well with the chocolate, milk duds and brown sugar I'm getting. The flavor profile replicates the nose and is just dreamy and creamy in this rich, sweet beer. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, softly creamy finish. Alcohol is amazingly well integrated into the flavor profile, especially considering the abv. and level of sweetness. There's something of a hint of prune juice in this beer as well, which actually goes quite well with the chocolate and brown sugar.

Great beer, but the high alcohol and richness makes this very much a sipper.

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Ovila Quad - Brandy Barrel Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 93 ratings